Dr. Pamela Ronald has always been interested in food, farming and the natural world. She was drawn to rice research because of the importance of rice as a staple food for half the world’s population. She has devoted the last 20 years of her research to understanding how plants respond to the environment.
"One of the greatest challenges of our time is to produce more food without further destroying the environment. A key to buiding a sustainable agriculture in the 21st century is to integrate the science of agricultural ecology with modern genetic approaches."
With the support of her team and collaborators, she has worked on
improving rice resistance to diseases and tolerance to flooding, which
are serious problems of rice crops in Asia and Africa. The groundbreaking discoveries made by Pamela in plant science and microbiology
have influenced the research of scientists around the world.
“It has been a great privilege to work as a scientist in the public sector at the University of California Davis for 20 years and to have opportunities to work with geneticists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and other institutions. With their help, our basic discoveries have benefitted farmers in the developing world. I hope to continue to have opportunities to advance basic research and also to engage the public on issues of food security, plant genetics and ecologically based farming,” says Pamela.
In 1996, she founded the Genetic Resources Recognition Fund, a UC Davis programme which aims to share benefits of basic research discoveries with farmers and scientists in less developed countries.
A Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at UC-Davis, Pamela co-authored the book Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics and the Future of Food with her husband Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer.